Leslie McCall: The Opportunity Model of Beliefs about Inequality and Redistribution


Monday, September 26, 2016, 12:00pm to 1:45pm


Harvard Kennedy School: Allison Dining Room

Leslie McCall, Professor of Sociology and Political Science, Northwestern University.

The opportunity model posits that Americans care most about economic inequality when they think it is restricting economic opportunities. McCall and collaborators test this model using survey experiments in one paper and new survey questions about redistribution in nationally representative surveys in the U.S. and Sweden in another paper. Findings from both papers, which are generally supportive of the model, will be presented. 

About the speaker

Leslie McCall is Professor of Sociology and Political Science at Northwestern University. In January 2017, she will join The Graduate Center faculty at City University of New York as a Presidential Professor of Sociology and Associate Director of the Stone Center on Socio-Economic Inequality.

Leslie McCall's areas of interest include social inequality, economic and political sociology, social theory, and methods. Her work on class inequality among women in the United States, and more generally, on how racial, educational, and gender inequality overlap and conflict with one other, has been published in a wide range of journals as well as in her book, Complex Inequality: Gender, Class, and Race in the New Economy (Routledge, 2001), which was the first runner-up for the C. Wright Mills Book Award, given by the Society for the Study of Social Problems.

In her most recent book, The Undeserving Rich: American Beliefs About Inequality, Opportunity, and Redistribution (read introduction), McCall examines American attitudes about income inequality, economic opportunity, and redistribution in the era of rising inequality. Her current research also includes ongoing studies of rising economic inequality among women and families, declining gender inequality, the impact of corporate restructuring (e.g., downsizing, subcontracting) on rising earnings inequality, and media coverage of economic inequality.

McCall also maintains an interest in feminist social theory and methodology, in particular the conceptualization and empirical analysis of intersectionality from a social science perspective.

See also: Fall 2016